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About 80% of general aviation aircraft fly using Lycoming engines. Clearing the trees at the end of the runway. Leaving 4500ft for 6500ft. Maintaining airflow and generating lift across the wings. All are impossible without a reliable engine. Lycoming powers my training aircraft and so fuels my quest for a private pilot certificate. This blog is a record of my thoughts and experiences on life, flight, and learning.

31 October 2005

28 Days

28 days....that's how long it's been since my last flight! Crazy, huh? Well, I finally managed to break away from work today and log another 1.0hrs of flight time. The good weather continued over from the weekend, and I had some nice weather. I flew around, just relaxing and enjoying the views. I practiced a couple of emergency landings, and a practice approach to one of the grass fields around my home base. Speaking of which, I'd like to share a view of my home base, Coshocton Richard Downing Airport (I40), which has very nice facilities, a brand-new terminal with extremely nice pilot lounge. It also can boast some of the cheapest 100LL around. Check it out some time when you are in the area.

I also took a photo of the 2000MW Conesville coal powerplant just down the river from Coshocton. Look at the piles of coal! I'd love to get a tour in there someday - I'll bet it's chock-full of engineering fun!

30 October 2005


Saturday I had to work. Yuck. Well, I normally don’t mind working on a Saturday, it’s just that this particular Saturday was perfect flying weather (12,000ft ceiling, 30.47altimeter, 15°C, winds 4-5kts) It was nice. Okay, it was freakin’ perfect. I was thinking just how nice it was for flying and how crappy it was that I was stuck with a pipe wrench in my hand, repairing leaks on a filtration loop at work. It was then that my Dad came by and said “Hey, I need a copilot.” I work with my dad, which is pretty cool, but being able to FLY with your dad is even cooler. Well, turns out we had an immediate need for some specialty stainless steel rod to finish a critical piece of equipment. This particular size of rod was only to be had at McMaster-Carr (source of all industrial happiness and goodness) in Aurora, OH.

This is why you fly. We made a few phone calls, hopped in the plane, took advantage of the beautiful day and solved a problem at the same time. 2 hours later, we were back on the ground with the parts. I got a little copilot time in (no PIC hours, darn it!) and had the opportunity to look out the window. The air was even smooth enough that my turbulence-avoiding pops didn’t climb above the inversion layer and we cruised at only 3000ft all the way up to Kent State (1G3). I’ve attached a photo of the final approach into runway 01 at Kent State.

On our way, I took in the colorful fall foliage and found a few things of note to share on my blog.

1.) I like the way golf courses look from the air. I like the contrast between the sand traps and the greens, and the way they look like the map on the back of the score card. The pattern of the course is neat, and the trees cast cool shadows on the ground. This particular golf course struck my eye, mostly because of the water and the brilliant colors on the forest next to it.

2.) I’m glad that I don’t live in a neighborhood like this. I know that it might suit some people to live in the Wal-Mart, mass-produced M/I Homes or Dominion homes neighborhood, but definitely NOT ME. There are no trees, no variety, just row after row of the same disposable, vinyl-covered, cookie-cutter, 2x4 wooden monuments to American consumer culture. Dream homes?…..whatever. Frank Lloyd Wright would be turning over in his grave.

3.) Does this guy have a cool house or what? “Hey, honey…I’m just going to taxi across the street and fly to Don Scott for a gallon of milk” Talk about the setup! Nice-sized pond, nice-sized airport….what more could a man want? Uh….I guess a couple of nice powder-covered runs out your back door.. From what I can read of the charts, I believe that this private airport is Stolzfus. It’s just east of Wooster, Ohio…maybe I’ll retire somewhere like that. Now, to talk the wife into buying a level piece of land, about 10 acres by 50 acres.....Hmmmm.....

20 October 2005

Amp up and Amplify!

Go to the AOPA website and register a comment against the proposed ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) around Washington DC. It is important to know what the department of "homeland security" is doing and what this can mean for the average citizen.

Facts about the ADIZ:
•The ADIZ was created over a weekend in February 2003 as a "temporary" response to a heightened terrorist threat level.
•The ADIZ encompasses 19 public-use airports, more than 10,000 pilots, and 2,147 based aircraft accounting for nearly 900,000 operations per year.
•It restricts GA from the ground to 18,000 feet in an area almost 40 miles around Washington, D.C.
•The FAA has tracked more than 2,000 ADIZ violations since 2003. None have been terrorist related and all but one have been inadvertent.

Why should you comment? An ADIZ can happen any place, any time. When it does, pilots, businesses, and airports suffer. Here are just a few of the effects on the GA community around Washington, D.C.—don't let the same thing happen to you.

•Pilots frequently must hold as much as 45 minutes on the ground or in the air to receive the needed transponder code to fly into the ADIZ.
•Dramatic drops in business force flight schools and charter companies to close.
•Airports inside the ADIZ report losing tens of thousands of dollars every month.
•Pilots, fearing certificate action, stop flying.
•Transient operations drop by as much as 90 percent at some airports.
•Based aircraft without transponders and radios are grounded.

Maybe you think that "it's only Washington DC" It's not. It could happen at the Class B airspace in your home flying area before you know it. Do something.

17 October 2005

One Million Miles...

Sounds like something Dr. Evil would say, huh? I found this blog by a B747 cargo pilot, who is 17 days into his quest to get 1,000,000 air travel miles using the Air Canada 60-day unlimited air travel pass. Would you get tired of flying YVR (Vancouver) to YUL (Montreal) and back again 30 times? I think that you might...but if I had $3500 canadian to burn and the time to spend, I could see myself in this guy's shoes. I hope he makes it!

13 October 2005

Westward Ho!

I didn’t fly this week, mostly because I have been too busy at work. Hopefully that changes soon. However, this past weekend, I did take a short trip to visit family in Denver, CO. The real highlight of the trip was the flight to and from Denver. Um….I mean…..VISITING FAMILY of course! My wife & I flew out of CAK (Akron-Canton) (see Runway diagram) on a direct flight to DEN on Frontier Airlines.

CAK was quite a nice airport to fly out of…imagine, if you will…a terminal the size of a local supermarket with about 6-8 departure gates. It was very quick to park, the staff was friendly, and the security line only had about 3-4 people in it. After boarding the plane, we were #1 for takeoff (I’m assuming that the A319 with a scheduled flight plan took priority over the random VFR student pilot). Climbout from CAK was towards the east, on runway 5, with a sharp left-hand turn to avoid CLE airspace. Since Frontier has a live map on channel 13 at every seat, I could monitor location, groundspeed, and altitude. After completing a quick turn to a heading of about 270 (west), we flew at about 250-270mph, and 4000ft (~300ftAGL) for about 5 minutes or so. (see excerpt from Ohio Sectional below)

The pilot then applied more power and we climbed to about 9000ft and maintained about 270-290mph for at least the next 10-15 minutes. Around Mansfield, we climbed to 20,000ft and held, but only had about 350-400kts airspeed. It was only at about the Ohio-Indiana border that we increased power and climbed out to FL390 and increased our speed to about 480-520mph.

I understand the quick turn and the measures to avoid CLE, but why fly at 9000ft on a westerly heading across northern Ohio? I’ve flown with my dad across this flight path at about 8500ft, so it is possible that a pilot on VFR could be close to a commercial flightpath from CAK.

It was a beautiful day, and the skies cleared out near the Iowa/Illinois border. Visibility was excellent, and I could clearly see our flight path as we followed I-80 across Iowa and Nebraska. It was fun to look out the window and see the railway of the transcontinental railroad and the slow-moving caravans of train cars making their way across the great plains. I enjoyed the perspective from 39,000ft, but suddenly became hungry to explore those roadways again by car and by foot.

It was also a great day for picking up other aircraft - it made me wish that I had a nice digital SLR with a 300mm lens, so that I could get some nice resolution on air-to-air shots. I saw a FedEx DC-10 cross underneath, a KLM 747, a AA MD-80, and this UAL 777 that followed us for about 10 minutes, then descended and accelerated (I'm assuming that they had a better slot at Denver then we did).

Landing in Denver was fairly straightforward. We flew downwind to pick up runway 35R (the east-most runway at DEN), and I could just pick up the glide-slope indicator lights showing that we were on the 3° glideslope just as we turned to final. We taxied to gate A32 and deplaned. Then I got to drive into the blinding Denver sun on I-70, while watching out for the yuppies in their BMW X5’s and sorority girls in their Jettas (sorry, Sam). The lighting was awesome for photos, however...

Staying with family was great – and we stayed with my wife’s cousin (my cousin-in-law) and did all sorts of fun things. We went up into the mountains near Mt. Evans (Echo Lake), had BeauJo’s pizza, watched a pee-wee soccer game, went to a inner-city church on Sunday evening, played several all-out light-saber duels with a very tenacious 3-yr old and a very imaginative 6 yr old. I happened to have a strange recollection of several lines (search your feelings….Obi-wan never told you…let your hate flow through you….etc.) which made the duels even more authentic. I managed to get disoriented (NOT LOST) in a rainy Denver late at night, which made one 9 yr old girl very concerned and one 29 yr old girl very frustrated.

It snowed like a mother on Sunday evening and Monday. This was awesome! About 4 inches fell in Denver, and there was more up in the mountains and the plains were swamped with snow. Too bad that I didn’t have my snowboard! Our flight out was delayed due to all the snow by about 5 hours, which meant that I didn’t get back in to CAK until about 4:30AM. Tack on a 1-1/2 hr drive and I was looking at 1hr of sleep before work. I decided that if I went to sleep I would never wake up. So, there I went….like a zombie…to work. Should’ve slept. Correction. Should’ve skipped the flight, quit my job, moved into a storage shed in Dillon, worked at a ski lift by day and pizza shop by night and boarded all the time. Yeah.

03 October 2005

5000ft Turns

I had to climb to 5000ft today to see the sun clearly. Looks nice, doesn't it? I spent some time doing power turns at 45 degree bank angles. It was fun to try and maintain the same altitude throughout the turn. I was occasionally rewarded with a slight "bump" as I passed through my previous wake turbulence. Good stuff. I had a little hard time maintaining altitude through the left-hand turns, but right-hand turns were right on the money.

I tried a stall at 5000ft as well, but I couldn't get the drop. I slowed down to 45 mph indicated airspeed, with the stall horn wailing away....but I couldn't get manage the drop. The wing was buffeting slightly, so I know that I was in a stall condition, and I was losing altitude at about 100ft/min. I was looking for the stomach-in-throat, sphincter-clenching, 100ft drop at the end of the stall. Oh well, I'll try next time. Maybe I need about 10degrees of flaps to get the aircraft a little slower - I'll have to read up on stalls and figure this one out. It was still fun to fly along in a mushing flight mode at a high angle-of-attack. Just need some more time in that flight attitude to be a little more comfortable.

I logged another 1.0hrs, which now gives me 17.7hrs total, and 7.2 hrs solo time.